SYN News at 4: 11 September 2013

Coming up over the next fifteen minutes:The US puts Syrian intervention on hold A proposal for CCTV cameras in state schoolsNick Xenophon and Adam Bandt weigh in on recent Senate controversyAnd the axe swings on players at the Demons Good afternoon, I’m CHARLIE BARHAM and welcome to SYN News at 4. Overseas first, and the US says it is ready to launch an attack on Syria if necessary. MARNIE BANGER  has the details. “US President BARACK OBAMA has welcomed a Russian initiative that would see Syria give up its stockpile of chemical weapons – but he isn’t confident it will work. In a rare prime-time TV address, MR OBAMA reaffirmed his support for military action against Syria, after a gas attack last month killed 1400 citizens. He noted the US would use a targeted attack, rather than a prolonged campaign. “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities.”  MR OBAMA has asked the US Congress to delay its vote on military action, while Russia tries to move Syria to give up its chemical weapons completely. Syria has showed interest in complying, but MR OBAMA says it is too early to tell if the offer will succeed.”Police have released CCTV footage of two men who could hold the key to solving the murder of St Kilda sex worker TRACY CONNELLY.  MS CONNELLY was found dead in her van on July 21.  It is believed she was killed between 2 and 2:30am, and police have released vision of a man who they believe could have seen Ms Connelly and her killer walking together on Greeve St at 1:45am.  Police also want to speak to the driver of a dark coloured Ford XR6 ute seen in the area between 2:20 and 2:30am.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime-stoppers.Two Papua New Guinean porters have died, after an attack on a group of trekkers from Australia and New Zealand on PNG’s Black Cat Trail. Four trekkers and seven porters have suffered injuries, and will be flown to Port Moresby this afternoon for treatment. The group was attacked by thieves, in an uncharacteristic incident on one of PNG’s most popular tracks.BILL SHORTEN has told the ABC that he will stand for the Labor Party leadership. MR SHORTEN, who served as a senior minister during the Gillard and Rudd governments, was due to give a press conference this afternoon, but this has been postponed. Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister ANTHONY ALBANESE is the other frontrunner to take the top job. Meanwhile, Liberal frontbencher SOPHIE MIRABELLA is looking more and more likely to lose her seat in parliament, although the result is still too close too call. MS MIRABELLA is currently trailing independent candidate CATHY MCGOWAN by 1773 votes in the north-east Victorian seat of Indi, after the Electoral Commission found a pile of more than a thousand missing votes, favouring MS MCGOWAN.State school foyers may soon have CCTV cameras installed, in a desperate bid to protect staff from harassment.  Australian principals are six times more likely than the general population to be victims of physical violence, according to a survey conducted by Monash University that was released in July.  CHRIS COTCHING – President of the Australian Principals Federation, says there are multiple reports of abuse instigated by parents each day.  He believes that Australia’s teachers and administrative staff are entitled to protection from the state government. The installation of the cameras is expected to cost around four million dollars.Melbourne Greens MP ADAM BANDT has voiced his concerns surrounding the Coalition’s promise to abolish the carbon tax, labelling it a con.MR BANDT says the Coalition is yet to act on its plan to scrap the tax, and if legislation is not introduced soon, the carbon price could remain until the 1st of July next year; as originally planned.  “If Tony Abbott does not bring on legislation to repeal the so called carbon tax in the coming months and try to get it through before the middle of next year and if necessary go to a double dissolution election, then the carbon tax will have run its full course and Tony Abbott’s promise to repeal it will be shown to be a great big new con”. MR BANDT has also reiterated the importance for the Labor Party to maintain a strong stance on climate change, whoever it’s new leader may be. “If Labor does not stand for protecting the climate change of the past it will lose significant in the community labour needs to stand for something it needs to stand for protecting the climate change laws that we have passed” SYN NEWS attempted to contact Coalition Climate Spokesperson Greg Hunt, but did not receive a response before going to air. Meanwhile, independent South Australian Senator NICK XENOPHON says he’ll introduce a bill to change the Senate voting system. This comes as candidates from the Australian Sports Party and the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts are expected to gain Senate seats, despite winning less than one per cent of the vote. SENATOR XENOPHON says voters should be required to nominate their top 6 preferences, with any preferences after that to be optional. ADAM BANDT agrees that change is necessary. “The Greens would bring legislation before the parliament that would have the effect of abolishing preference deals in the senate it’s those preferences that have led to the perverse outcomes were seeing at the moment.” He says the Greens’ proposal would ensure a more accurate reflection of voter preferences. “What the Greens want to see a system in the Senate that similar to that which we have in the lower house where people would be able to number above the line from down to wherever to they choose and then you could allocate your own preferences in the senate. If you were able to do that you could be assured of where your preferences were going.” And for more on the Senate voting system, including an interview with micro-party preference mastermind GLENN DRUERY, stay tuned for Panorama at 4.30.The Melbourne City Council has officially opposed to the construction of a 72-storey apartment tower at Southbank. The Council has released a report arguing the 240-metre Clarke Street development would interrupt the view of nearby apartments and cast shadows on public spaces. The building’s designer BKK Architects have defended their plans, telling Fairfax the tower will appeal to those driving along the West Gate Freeway. Planning Minister Matthew Guy has the final call on the mega-tower, and is not bound to follow the Council’s recommendations.An online petition calling on the incoming Coalition government to keep Labor’s national broadband network has become Australia’s largest online petition on record. The petition created by a 20-year-old Queenslander on website recorded 116,281 signatures by 11 this morning, overtaking the previous record set by a petition calling on advertisers to ditch radio jock ALAN JONES. The petition asks the government to end its plans to put in place a fibre-to-the-node network, and instead keep Labor’s fibre-to-the-home model.Spreading rumours online can now lead to a jail sentence in China, in a nationwide plan aimed at reducing the large amount of free-flowing debate on the internet. According to the newly implemented laws, the authors of defamatory posts that are forwarded more than 500 times, or that are viewed more than 5000 times could be sentenced to a jail term of up to three years. This legislation comes as a result of the soaring number of blogs and social media sites within China, and will certainly put a stop to Chinese Whispers.Israel will reportedly pay more than a million dollars to the family of BEN ZYGIER, an Australian man who committed suicide in an Israeli prison cell. However, according to Israeli TV, the Israeli government still will not accept responsibility for the 34-years-olds death. ZYGIER, also known as Prisoner X, was an Australian and Israeli citizen, and was arrested in relation to treason. The incident had been kept secret until it was publicised by the ABC early this year.  And a reminder that anyone experiencing personal problems can contact LifeLine on 13 11 14, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or visit Lane in the Melbourne CBD will be a smoke-free area for six months, as part of a trial being undertaken by the City Council. The ban will begin on October 1, and was originally suggested by the Australian Medical Association. This comes as the Victorian government will soon introduce legislation to ban smoking at skate parks, children’s sporting events, and playgrounds.The most senior orthodox rabbi in Australia has apologised for child sex abuse within the Jewish community, and the failure of Jewish leaders to handle the incidents appropriately. Rabbi MOSHE GUTNICK apologised for the cover-ups which had occurred, and called on victims to come forward so that their abusers could be prosecuted. He also called on the perpetrators to hand themselves in to police. Victim group Tzedek has welcomed the apology.Angelina Jolie’s first attempt at directing, a war film called In the Land of Blood and Honey, is seeking Aussies to play extras in Queensland. A public casting call made today has called on Caucasian and Japanese males aged 17 to 50 who are willing to play prisoners of war or soldiers in the film. There’s one catch though, with the call explaining extras “need to be up for a haircut”.And now here’s ALEX DARLING with the days sport. Thanks CHARLIE. Carlton coach Mick Malthouse is “extremely hopeful” ruckman Matthew Kreuzer will be fit do battle against Sydney in Sydney at Saturday night’s semi-final. Kreuzer is battling a foot injury he sustained in last Sunday’s elimination final against Richmond, and is struggling to get back to match fitness after he didn’t train with the rest of the playing group this morning. But Malthouse said the ruckman had trained in some capacity during the week, and while he said he’d be disappointed if Kreuzer didn’t play Carlton have Shaun Hampson, who can play as Ruckman, to come into the side.  In other injury news, Hawthorn expects Cyril Rioli to be fit for next week’s preliminary final, recovering from an ankle he injured against North Melbourne, while Josh Hunt is likely to replace an injured Corey Enright in the side that plays Port Adelaide on Friday night. And a day after Collingwood gave six senior list players the chop, Melbourne has delisted five players from the side today. The little known James Sellar, Josh Tynan, Troy Davis, Tom Gillies and Tom Couch were told the club no longer required their services, while the contracts of assistants Brian Royal and Leigh Brown were also not renewed. Caretaker coach Neil Craig is also not expected to remain at Melbourne. The reworking comes 4 days after Paul Roos was announced as Melbourne coach for the next 2 seasons, part of a longer term rebuilding plan for the struggling club. A host of nations have qualified for the 2014 football world cup in Rio after matches this morning local time.The USA beat Mexico 2-0 to book their spot, while a draw with Jamaica didn’t stop Costa Rica from making the 32. Argentina hammered fellow South Americans Paraguay 5-2 to qualify, while Italy and the Netherlands became the first European nations to qualify after their stars Mario Balotelli and Robin van Persi netted goals. Meanwhile, Jordan’s rollercoaster ride in qualifying for their first world cup continues, beating Uzbekistan on penalty shootouts 9-8.  The tense victory followed a gripping comeback from a goal down in the first half to level scores at full time, and Jordan also withstood the floodlights failing for 18 minutes to reach an intercontinental play off at next years Cup.  And in the rugby codes, the Brisbane broncos have signed Roosters prop Martin kennedy on a three year deal, in super rugby fly-half Bryce hegarty signed with the Melbourne rebels for 2 years, and in Union The Wallabies will be led by new captain Ben Mowen and deputy adam Ashley Cooper against Argentina on Saturday night.  CHARLIE: Thanks for that ALEX. Melbourne reached a top of 16 just after 2pm today, we’re heading for an overnight low of 7, before a mostly cloudy day tomorrow, a top of 16. Much the same for Friday, showers and 16, and a mild weekend, with possible showers and 19 on Saturday, with late showers and 20 degrees on Sunday.Currently, its 11 degrees in FRANKSTON, 13 in GEELONG, and in the city its 16 degrees.For those taking public transport this afternoon, services on the Cranbourne line have resumed, after urgent repairs were undertaken earlier this afternoon. Meanwhile, there are disruptions on the Route24 tram due to a fire near Victoria St.Now, recapping our top stories on SYN NEWS this afternoon:

  • Syria may hand over chemical weapons to Russia
  • Australian principals propose security cameras for schools
  • A petition to keep Labor’s NBN doing the rounds online
  • And more nations qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil

 That’s all for our bulletin this afternoon. When we’re off air, you can keep up with the news by following us on twitter at News SYN. Panorama’s coming up at 4.30 and we’ll be back with an update at 5pm. 

September 11th 2013
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